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Juan Arraya and Alex Bancila Ride Out the Storm of Competition in the Chicago Charities
November 4-5, 2017
With no clear favorite or dominant team entered, there was a degree of uncertainty about the draw at the Chicago Charities NRT/Viking PCQ, the second Grand Prix of the 2017-2018 season. Would the well-established, highly ranked teams of Scott Kahler and Casey Watt and Marek Czerwinski and Chris Gambino, seeded number one and two and ranked fifth and sixth in the country prevail? Or would teams comprised of highly ranked players we don’t usually see together come through, such as the third seeds Juan Arraya and Alex Bancila and the fourth seeds Martin Bostrom and Michael Montalbano?
In the end, Juan Arraya and Alex Bancila, who played together years ago, winning this title in 2010, proved too tough for the rest of the field. They moved through the draw without dropping a set, beating fifth seeded Marco Grangeiro and Mark Innes in the championship match.
There was plenty of drama in the earlier stages of the draw, with upsets and close matches in abundance. In the top half of the draw, Kahler/Watt moved through to the semifinals as expected, taking out the seventh seeds Jeronie Barnes and Mike Marino in the quarters. In the bottom quarter of the top half, the results were less predictable. Rob Bakker and Tyler Fraser staged an upset in the Round of 16, beating Milwaukee Open finalists and sixth seeds Graham McNerney and Matt Warner, 6-4, 6-3 before losing in the next round to Arraya/Bancila.
In the bottom half of the draw, Bostrom/Montalbano had a real scare in the Round of 16, fending off Paolo Gonzalez and Hall of Famer Scott Mansager, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Bostrom/Montalbano couldn’t hold up their seeding; they fell to Grangeiro/Innes in the quarters. Grangeiro/Innes almost didn’t make it to their match with Bostrom/Montalbano. They escaped with a victory against John Noble and Brad Smith by the narrowest of margins, gaining a quarterfinal berth with a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 win. The biggest upset of the tournament came in the bottom quarter of the draw. After dropping the first set in the Round of 16 to Brian Compton and Paul Rose, Czerwinski/Gambino seemed to right the ship and won the next two sets while losing only two games. They couldn’t find a way to beat their next unseeded challengers, however, losing to Mark Barry and Brian Heil in straight sets in the round of 16. That was Barry/Heil’s second consecutive upset, following their win against the eighth seeds, Ben McKnight and Pete Rose.
In one semifinal, the array of spins and shots from Arraya/Bancila overcame the steady play of Kahler/Watt. In the other, Barry/Heil quickly took the first set 6-0, but Grangeiro/Innes settled down and only dropped two games in the final two sets.
In the finals, Grangeiro/Innes were unable to diffuse the Arraya overhead and the relentless barrage of offensive shots from Arraya/Bancila, who won the match in straight sets, giving them their second Chicago Charities title as a team.
In the Men’s 90+ tournament, Kevin Andersen and APTA President Scott Bondurant defeated Paulo Gonzalez and Mike Sullivan for the title.
Thank you to tournament director and APTA Grand Prix tour director Shannon Vinson, John Noble, and all of their volunteers for running this tournament, always a favorite with the players and fans.
Men’s Open Results:
Main Draw: Juan Arraya/Alex Bancila def. Marco Grangeiro/Mark Innes, 6-2, 6-3
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Jeronie Barnes/Mike Marino def. Martin Bostrom/Michael Montalbano, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
Round of 16 Reprieve: Graham McNerney/Matt Warner def. Ben McKnight/Pete Rose, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
Round of 32 Consolation: Peter Berka/Christopher Struck def. Randy Lofgren/Wil Lofgren, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6
Consolation: Edwin Lewis/Scott Triplett def. Peter Hantack/Jason Love, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Last Chance: Ludo Aaron/John Baxter def. Dave Fritzsche/Tom Moore, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5